“Growing up gay, it took a lot of work, courage, and commitment to ourselves to be who we are today,” say graphic designer and horror film screenwriter Brian + Michael. “We never could have imagined that marriage was possible.” The magnitude of the moment was not lost on these two, so they took every opportunity to pour their personalities into their queer, Old Hollywood glam and horror-movie-inspired maximalist masterpiece of a wedding. “We showed everyone all of us.”
Kristeen LaBrot Events teamed up with Brian + Michael to fill Carondelet House—an eclectic, old world venue in the heart of Los Angeles—with high drama details, subtle nods to horror films, and lots of Dark Academia flair. And every design choice was that much more meaningful because it was motivated by the significance of the event.
“Gay marriage has only been around since 2015, and right now, all over the country, politicians are desperately trying to strip queer people of our right to live authentically,” Brian + Michael say. “We had a few extended family members who most likely didn’t attend because it was a gay wedding, but it weirdly seemed to make our ceremony even more important. We needed to proclaim our love for each other in front of our supportive friends and family because we are proud to love each other.”
Let’s dive into Kenzie Kate Photo’s shots of Brian + Michael’s spooky-yet-sophisticated celebration!!
Brian + Michael nailed it when they dubbed this invitation suite by Strictly Personal Designs “Anatomy of Love.” The mix of old medical illustrations, florals, and antique fonts that make up these invites became a major part of the design inspiration for the whole event.
The dog featured on the envelope liner is a custom illustration of Brian + Michael’s beloved pup, Lady Scooby Strode!
Brian rocked a pair of vintage-monster-movie-inspired cufflinks by Han Cholo that featured Frankenstein and The Bride of Frankenstein!
And we spy Lady Scooby Strode herself!! Check out our list of creative ways to include your dog in your wedding day if you’re thinking you might want your furry friend to play ring bearer like Brian + Michael did!
“Our officiant Nay Bever talked about how queer love is radical love,” say Brian + Michael, “and we felt a radical energy in the room as she spoke.”
If you’ve seen Moira Rose’s iconic pope-inspired look in the series finale of Schitt’s Creek or the Cenobites from the 1987 film Hellraiser you may recognize officiant Nay’s custom robes as a quirky mashup of BOTH!
Costume designer Chad Evett was the mind behind Nay’s show stopping look.
“We did not shy away from the queerness of our marriage,” the couple says. “We totally maximized it.”
It was so gay. We showed everyone all of us.
Nay being our officiant and talking about how queer love is radical love.
Michael’s three oldest siblings walked him down the aisle. His parents had both passed and this served as a tribute to his family. He was escorted by his sister Kathy who then handed him off to his brother Pat and finally he handed Michael off to his sister Nina. These three siblings have a special meaning, not only because they are the oldest three children in their family but they are also Michael’s godparents. We paid a special tribute to Michael’s parents throughout the day as the venue had a mantle where we placed framed photos of his parents, looking out over the entire day. They truly felt part of our day.
One of the most fun moments of the day was the involvement of our special and gorgeous 3 year old pup Lady Scooby Strode. A beautiful staffordshire terrier mix, Scooby wore a special black leather collar with faux diamond studs and a velvet maroon harness and lede. She served as our ring bearer, escorted down the aisle by Michael’s youngest niece Maggie. Scooby is very much known by the grooms’ family and friends and she was the unofficial greeter to all who attended the ceremony. Always with a bright smile, Scooby was part of our pictures and stood out amongst the crowd. She is all love, a significant part of our lives, and we could not have had our big day without her.
Being sober and remembering it all. No hazy memories or forgotten moments. I never would have imagined being sober at my wedding, let alone having almost 8 years under my belt. Worth every struggle and hardship.
BreLuxe was in charge of hair and makeup for these gorgeous grooms.
The Little Branch leaned into Brian + Michael’s eclectic vision when creating the day’s florals. We’re loving the Dark Academia energy of incorporating antique furniture pieces into the arrangements and all this draping greenery!
The dress code for the event was “festive formal,” and Brian + Michael’s guests absolutely understood the assignment. Take a peek at our semi-formal wedding attire guide if you need to find something upscale that still feels fab.
Having all sorts of celebratory beverages—not just boozy ones—is super important. “We are both sober and have a bunch of sober friends,” Brian + Michael say, “so we wanted there to be mocktail options that were in line with the event’s formal vibe instead of the standard sparkling apple cider that we would usually get at weddings.”
How cute are these custom matchboxes with illustrations from the invitations suite!?
Brian + Michael cut ALL of these colorful butterfly wing escort cards by hand!
Check out some escort card display ideas if you’re brainstorming ways to get your guests to their seats.
“Brian found a vintage anatomical torso at the Rose Bowl flea market,” the couple says, “and our floral designer The Little Branch created a lush floral arrangement with artificial butterflies that spilled from the bust like guts. It was so on brand and so beautiful.”
The deep, moody colors of Dutch Masters paintings was a major influence for the floral vibe.
A thought from the couple about diversity and inclusivity when choosing their vendors: “We asked our planner Kristeen to recommend vendors that were either queer, people of color and/or women. The vast majority of our vendors were LGBTQIA+, which we felt really contributed to the joyous atmosphere and celebration of queer love.”
These table numbers were another totally unique antique moment. “Brian scoured flea markets and eBay to find vintage, porcelain glove molds that stood vertical and held the table number card.”
Makeup for guys. We were a little hesitant to hire a makeup artist for us, but guess what? We did and it was a great decision. We looked and felt frickin’ flawless the entire day. And the photos didn’t need any retouching.
Hire a wedding planner who you trust and admire their style… then trust them when they make recommendations! Hire vendors who you respect for their craft. Give them a little direction - maybe a Pinterest board and a tagline for the wedding’s overall theme - and then let them have fun! You chose your vendors because you admire their talent and previous work, so give them enough creative license for them to express themselves and show off!
A tip one of our friends gave us really made an impact. He said to not feel pressured to invite anyone in particular, that it’s our day and if we aren’t going to be happy to see their faces on our wedding day, then forget ‘em. We cannot begin to convey how awesome it was to only have people at our wedding who were truly happy for us… seeing so many huge smiles and excited faces after the ceremony will be something that we will always remember.
We are loving the texture of these sage green velvet linens from MTB Event Rentals.
And how fab are these floral plates from The Ark Rentals?!
The evening’s feast was catered by Très LA.
Butterflies everywhere you look!
Nicole Bakes Cakes created this rustic yet elegant three-tier wedding cake. We are obsessed with the clear decorative base and that square bottom tier!
The event was packed touches that embraced Brian + Michael’s Old-Hollywood-glam-meets-horror design vision and capitalized on the vintage vibe of the venue. There was a tarot card reader. There was a Bates Motel inspired guest book as a nod to the classic Hitchcock film Psycho. And there were black-and-white horror films like The Bride of Frankenstein and the “classically queer” Dracula’s Daughter projected on the walls!
Congratulations, Brian + Michael (and Lady Scooby Strode)!! Your Old Hollywood Horror wedding was unforgettably YOU! All the best from GWS!
photography: Kenzie Kate // venue name: Carondelet House, Los Angeles, CA, USA // event design: Kristeen LaBrot Events // planning: Kristeen LaBrot Events // florals: The Little Branch // hair stylist: Breluxe Beauty // makeup artist: Breluxe Beauty // groom attire: Duke Stojanovich and Tom Ford // groom's shoes: Giuseppe Zanotti // paper goods: Strictly Personal Designs // catering: Tres LA // cake: Nicole Bakes Cakes // tabletop rentals: The Ark // linen rentals: MTB Event Rentals // music: DJ Keelez // officiant: Nay Bever // food truck: Billionaire Burger Boyz // groom's shoes: To Boot New York // monster cufflinks: Han Cholo // officiant attire: Chad Evett